A Hero's Welcome is doubly ironic. Irony number one: Alan Silva, who helped define the role of the bass in free jazz, now plays keyboards instead. (In his bass-playing years, Silva worked alongside such luminaries as Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, and Albert Ayler. His arco technique remains alive in today's players.) Irony number two: William Parker, the greatest jazz bassist of the last two decades, now finds himself accompanying Silva on A Hero's Welcome. (Parker deserves recognition for his work with Cecil Taylor and David S. Ware, as well as in his own groups.)
All ironies aside, A Hero's Welcome combines elements of classical composition and jazz improvisation in a totally unique way. Put it this way: Silva dedicated the work to Sun Ra and the great string players of the 20th century. That's the combination to think about. Silva's vision combines orchestral arrangements (delivered via sampler) with live midi keyboard and acoustic piano. Meanwhile Parker contributes his signature bass support. Composed and improvised strands interweave and exchange roles; harsh electronic sounds trade off with warm acoustic tones. Silva and Parker stretch dissonance to new extremes, without abandoning a very grounded sense of harmony. In the music that's available today, jazz and live electronics rarely mix. For those with an interest in this growing field, A Hero's Welcome promises to surprise and intrigue.
1. I (8:24);
2. II (7:26);
3. III (16:50);
4. IV (9:25);
5. V (13:45).
Alan Silva: orchestral arrangements,
string synthesizer, acoustic piano;
William Parker: bass.
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